And if they are, can they ever make a successful CEO?
If you've ever started a company, you might have a disorder.
That's the thesis of the Inc. 500|5000 debate between Jay Goltz, CEO of the Goltz Group and author of The Street Smart Entrepreneur, and Phil Patrick, founder of PharmaStrat, a boutique strategy consulting and market research services firm.
The panel's title, Are Entrepreneurs Too Crazy to Make Good CEOs, is really a question in two parts. One: Are entrepreneurs crazy? The second part (because, well, let's face it, everyone who's extraordinarily passionate is at least a little insane): Are they too crazy to be highly effective leaders?
A panel of judges pondered three rounds of questioning structured around three potential disorders allegedly plaguing entrepreneurs everywhere:
1. HypoMania Literally "below mania," it is a persistent elevated mood characterized by a decreased need for sleep, and extremely outgoing personality, competitiveness, and a great deal of energy. However, unlike full "mania," hypomaniacs are fully functioning and are actually more productive than others. —Adapted from Websters
2. Delusions of Grandeur A delusion in which one believes oneself possessed of great importance, power, wealth, intellect, or ability. —American Heritage Medical Dictionary
3. Narcissism A consuming self-absorption or self-love; a type of egotism. Narcissists constantly assess their appearance, desires, feelings, and abilities. —American Heritage Culture Dictionary
While Goltz and Patrick duke this one out, let's let our readers—amongst whom are a lot of successful entrepreneurs and CEOs—have a say: Are you a little crazy?
CHRISTINE LAGORIO-CHAFKIN is a writer, editor, and reporter whose work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Village Voice, and The Believer, among other publications. She is senior writer at Inc. @Lagorio